Bill would change NC littering laws to include grass clippings, leaves on streets

North Carolina
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 Motorcycle riders are backing a change to the state’s littering law, saying some people are creating a safety hazard by leaving large amounts of grass clippings and leaves on streets.

“That could put down a motorcyclist or bicyclist. It’s very dangerous for people riding on two wheels for that to happen,” said Charlie Boone with the Concerned Bikers Association. “People just don’t think. That’s the problem. It doesn’t affect them, so they don’t think about it.”

A Republican-sponsored bill that has the backing of Speaker of the House Tim Moore would amend the littering law to specifically include “grass clippings, leaves, shrubbery trimmings and any other plant material resulting from lawn maintenance and other horticultural gardening and landscaping activities.”

Click here to view the bill.

Punishments vary based on the amount of waste involved and include a combination of a fine and community service. 

“It can cause you to drop your bike, and there are people that have been killed by that,” Boone said. “If law enforcement sees it, I would like for them to stop and take notice.”

Tyler Stiles, a personal injury attorney who is lobbying for the bill to pass, noted that some municipalities already have ordinances addressing the issue.

“The problem is we’re seeing really inconsistent enforcement across the state,” he said.

He also acknowledged criticism the bill has received.

“This maybe smacks of governmental overreach and maybe meddling in regulation for its own sake. I don’t think that’s what this is, however. This is simply clarifying a statute that already exists,” he said.

Gary Mize, chief operating officer of the Tractor Place in Wake County, questioned the practicality of trying to change the law. His business sells equipment to prevent grass clippings and leaves from blowing into roads.

“I’ve always believed that whenever you put one law in, you ought to take one law out,” he said. “I believe that the government’s already too much involved in our lives whether it be mowers, leaves, guns or anything else.”

If the bill passes, it would take effect Dec. 1.

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